October 31, 2012

Stalling and Spitting

I'll have a post up showing all the pretty details of the antique drawers tomorrow.  In the meantime, here's what my first pair of repro drawers looks like behind the original-

My first attempt was made from muslin, and while it worked it was a pain in the butt to sew all the tiny details with.  I'm making a second repro pair right now with fabric that behaves better.  When that's done, I'll be able to post a step by step tutorial on how to make your own!

In the meantime, I have to deal with this-

Urgh.  My iron is on its last legs and is protesting by spitting all over everything.  Who's got recommendations for a new one?

October 23, 2012

Room to Sew

I was unexpectedly sent to Texas for work for the last five days, so I haven't gotten as far on the Victorian drawers as I'd like.  However, I do still have something to show off!

Publicly displaying the shameful photo of my utterly wrecked sewing room two weeks ago was just the kick in the butt I needed to clean it up.  Behold!

The photos are a bit funny looking b/c I took them using a panoramic photo app that stitches regular photos together to form one long one.  It's hard to take decent pictures of a small room!  I made some alterations to my room layout that I hope will help me keep it nice and pretty in the future.

I sneakily moved one of my unused treadle sewing machines out to the living room to free up some space.  Since I also cleaned and reorganized the living room, Boyfriend has diplomatically elected to ignore the fact that my sewing items are slowly taking over the house.

My old stash bins were so large that fabric would get sucked into their depths, never to be seen again.  To fix that issue, I bought smaller bins and gave away the gianormous ones.  I also sorted through my fabric stash and pulled out nearly all the synthetic stuff.  I haven't really sewn with synthetics for years, so there was a lot of perfectly serviceable fabric just sitting around going to waste.  That pile went off to a good home, leaving me with more space for all the natural fabrics that I use on a regular basis.  The rest of the stash got sorted by fabric type and stored in the smaller clear bins.  Now I can easily put my hands on the exact fabric I need, without digging through piles of stuff!

To combat the UFO pile, I've put each in-progress item in its own drawer.  It ensures that all the little odds and ends for each project are kept together so they can't wander off, and it forces me to finish a project before starting three more.  When the drawers are full, I've got to finish something to make room for the next thing I want to make.

My ironing/cutting table was too short for me, leading to a lot of bending and stooping that only ended in pain.  Boyfriend cobbled together some leg extenders for me, so now the table stands at the correct height.  They may not be fancy, but they work!

I also put a shelf above my ironing table, complete with a bar for hanging clothes to steam.  The shelf will be super useful for storing all the pressing aids I want to make.  Underneath the shelf I installed three small lights to help me see my projects on the table.

One of those cheap shoe caddies hangs from the inside of my closet door, giving me a place to stash all the costuming accessories that I can never seem to find.  Now if I need a fan, a hanky or my spats I know right where to look.  The rest of the closet is organized as well, with a rack for Boyfriend's cravats, shelves for hats and my American Duchess shoe collection, and bins for my gloves and wigs.  My costumes are finally hung properly, rather than being piled in various corners of the room. 

In short, I have no excuse to avoid sewing anymore.  This week, expect posts on those drawers I've been talking about, plus a corset and the beginnings of my Dickens Faire dress!

October 16, 2012

Are Your Knickers Fancy?

  I've always thought of Victorian drawers as being super simple items of clothing- two tubes of fabric with a crotch curve cut out, gathered at the waist with a drawstring or band.    Hell, I've whipped up a pair in less than an hour before.  Slap some lace on the bottom of the legs if you're feelin' fancy and there ya go.  Surely all drawers are pretty much the same, right?

Yeah, I was wrong.  Last year I picked up a pretty pair of antique drawers in great condition.  While my boyfriend tried to get over the fact that I would pay money for the equivalent of someone's old panties, I ignored him and got busy examining my new acquisition.  At first glance, they looked pretty similar to every other pair of drawers in existence.  But upon closer inspection, WHOA.  A lot of work has gone into these things!  French seams, tiny pintucks, darts galore (zomg whoever made this LOVED darts), taped seams, facings, crotch gussets, the works.  Someone put some serious effort into their undies!

  I'll show you all the pretty details on the original later this week, but in the meantime I've been taking a pattern from the darn thing so that I can make my own pair.  Right now it's looking fairly similar to every other drawers pattern ever, but I wanted to show y'all that I was actually working on something, and this is all I've got at the moment!

Tune in next time for an in-depth analysis of someone's 100+ year old chonies.

You weirdo.

October 4, 2012

Make Your Own Custom Hoop With Me!

Need a hoop skirt for Dickens Faire, Halloween, reenactments or just because?  Can't find one with the proper shape?  Want to make your own hoop skirt but too nervous to try it on your own?  Come make one with me!

I'm teaching a Make Your Own Custom Hoop Skirt workshop at TechShop Menlo Park on Saturday, October 20th at 10:00am.  I'll walk you through the whole process of drafting a pair of hoops that are shaped and sized exactly as you desire, then help you turn your paper pattern into fabric and steel reality.  By 5:00pm you'll swish out the door in your very own custom drafted and sewn hoops!

The nitty gritty details-
  • You don't have to have passed the usual TechShop safety courses to take this class, but you do need to know how to turn on a sewing machine and sew a straight line. (Pretty sure everyone reading this can do that!)
  • We will provide all the tools and materials you'll need, including sewing machines, steel hoopwire, fabric (it'll be white), etc.  All you need to bring is your own lunch, or I you prefer I can point you to some good grub nearby.
  • The actual class will be 6 hours long, but there's a one hour break so you can go get lunch, so the grand total shows as 7 hours.
  • We'll be making round style hoops.  You can customize the width, length and shape (cone shaped, U-shaped, funky wobbly shaped, etc) but this method will not work for bustles, panniers or elliptical hoops.  
  • We need a minimum of 3 students to go ahead with the class, so don't wait, sign up now! 

My fabulously drawn example of some of the styles of hoops you could make.  
I have a hankering to make that third pair!

I'm so excited to teach this class and I hope to see you there!  Much love to anyone who wants to boost the signal by telling your friends or linking to this post :)

October 3, 2012

Excuses, Awards and Teasers

I haven't sewn a thing for myself in a while, because this is what my sewing room looks like:

Mind you, that's after I removed the ironing table, two mannequins and a vintage treadle machine.  Sigh.  I'm going to wade in and start shoveling right after I post this, but first a few other tidbits.

The lovely Angela of The Merry Dressmaker has awarded me the Liebster Blog Award!  This award is meant to shine a light and show some love to awesome blogs with smaller followings that you might not have heard of yet.

Rules as follows:

a) Add the award icon to your blog! (Check)
b) Link to your awarder to say "Thank You" (Check)

c) And most importantly, award/present five (5) of your favorite bloggers with less than 200 followers with the award! 
(Yup, on it)

I'm cheating a bit, as one of my choices is the same as hers, and another just got the award today from someone else, but rules are made to be broken!  So without further ado...

Serendipitous Stitchery- My dear Miss Waterman makes drop dead gorgeous Regency stuff.  She's also awesome and snarky and I love her.  Hey Waterman, post more!  (I know, pot, kettle, black)

The Pragmatic Costumer- Someone beat me to it, but I've just fallen in love with this blog.   She caught my eye with a fabulous post that every beginner costumer should read, then reeled me in with a post on how wearing a corset affects your body and silhouette that made me want to link to it all over teh interwebs.

Life is too short for normal clothes- She's making a repro of THAT dress from THAT portrait of Eleanor of Toledo.  Now that's my kind of crazy.

Idlewild IllustrĂ©- I just happened upon this one recently.  I love her Titanic gown, and she does some lovely paintings as well.

Idle Hands-  Cheating, as she was awarded in the same round as me (SHHHHH).  I've been stalking this blog for the lowdown on recovering parasols.  With a few more posts, I miiiight be brave enough to tackle it!

Ladies, I'm not holding you to the whole pass it along thing; I'm just happy to share some great blogs!

And finally, there's fabulous news ahead for those of you in need of some custom hoops for Halloween or Dickens.  Stay tuned!